Call for Continuing Talks to Rescue JCPOA

Call for Continuing Talks to Rescue JCPOA Call for Continuing Talks to Rescue JCPOA

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok, who is in Tehran on a political mission, met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Saturday before holding talks with President Hassan Rouhani to discuss a range of subjects, including issues surrounding the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal. 
Blok reiterated that his country's stance on the landmark accord remains the same and it would try to help salvage the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
"For this purpose, we need to continue our talks, and negotiation could be the solution to problems and differences," he was quoted as saying by
JCPOA has been unraveling since the United States unilaterally pulled out and reimposed sanctions on Tehran in 2018.
Stressing the need to keep JCPOA in place as an international agreement, Blok said Amsterdam has told the Americans both publicly and privately that their exit from the deal was "not a right decision".  
Washington's policy has provoked dispute between Iran and the European Union, with Tehran arguing that the bloc has failed to meet its pledges to make up for the American economic pressure.
Iran, in response, has reduced its compliance to balance the accord, prompting the European parties to trigger the deal's dispute resolution mechanism, although they later extended its timeline to allow time to reach an agreement before the case goes to the United Nations Security Council where global sanctions could be restored on Iran.
Europe has made feeble efforts to protect Iran's economy, including INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), the financial mechanism that aims to facilitate trade with Iran by circumventing US sanctions.
Although EU countries, including the Netherlands, have welcomed and joined the initiative, the system has not conducted any transaction so far since its launch in January 2019, jointly by France, Germany and Britain. 



Amsterdam’s Role in INSTEX 

Blok pointed to his meetings with representatives of Dutch enterprises in Tehran, hoping that Amsterdam can play a more active role in the operation of INSTEX. 
Iran has declared that it would reverse all its steps away from JCPOA obligations once its economic problems are solved, whether through INSTEX or other initiatives.
Iran demands a solution that can help it to continue oil export and repatriate its revenues.
Rouhani censured Europe's inaction in protecting Iran's economy, emphasizing that the US “Illegal” and “cruel” sanctions have even disrupted the supply of food and medicine for Iranians. 
Dimensions of the assassination of Iranian top commander Major General Qasem Soleimani on the order of US President Donald Trump were also discussed between Blok and Zarif.
Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, was targeted by American missiles in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in early January.
His martyrdom sparked massive demonstrations by protesters both inside and outside of the country.
In a retaliatory attack, Iran launched missiles at locations hosting American forces in Iraq, but said the ultimate revenge would be the US expulsion from the region.
Rouhani pointed out that regional countries, including Iraq and Syria, are opposed to the presence of American forces in their countries, citing the Iraqi Parliament's resolution calling on the government to expel foreign troops.
Blok is visiting Tehran amid heightened tensions and security issues in the region, particularly after several attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which one-fifth of the world's oil passes. 
Other countries have formed security coalitions to protect their interests in the Persian Gulf. 
Rouhani said in his meeting that the region would be safe, if the US stops its intervention. 
"The basis of our policy is that the security of the region needs to be ensured by regional countries and we do not see the presence of foreign forces in the Persian Gulf in the form of various coalitions useful for the region," he said. 
As the Netherlands hosts international judicial authorities in The Hague, Rouhani said the two countries can have logical discussions in “the language of law” over regional security. 

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